textiles · exploration · misadventure


Purple Post Part One: Purple Store

I recently visited my mum in LA, timed to coincide with a visit from my older sister Lori.
This lady has a smile that stops time. She’s gorgeous. (My generation’s answer to the long line of beautiful women in our family. My mother? Movie star. Lori’s daughters and grand-daughters? Don’t even ask. I digress.)

One particularly fun day, Lori took me to San Pedro Ports’o’Call to visit the purple store. Ports’o’Call is in the Port of Los Angeles area, very industrial, very interesting. I love the character of these old buildings, the cranes, the docks. They speak to long history, hard work, and quiet, gritty beauty.
port of Los Angeles

Ports’o’Call itself is a little village set off from the docks, with little stores, harbor tours, and the best seafood market for miles around.

Purple is the color of the Lupus Foundation of America, and the butterfly is its symbol. My sister suffers from Lupus, and after this visit, I understand many of her childhood, teenage, and young womanhood health issues can now be traced back to it.

The purple store isn’t an official Lupus store; nevertheless, it had purple everythings, including butterflies. We adopted it; I made two trips there; Lori made three.

On her first visit, solo, my sister was warmly welcomed by the manager, Susan, and shared the connection between Lupus and purple. Susan was open, interested, and kind. When Lori told me about the store, I wanted to go too, because Lori wanted to share it with me, and because purple is *somebody’s favorite color.

030When Lori showed back up, with me in tow, Susan was there again, and we three got a good laugh at how we couldn’t stay away. We were in that store for at least a half hour, Susan chatting on and off with us. She never pressured us to buy anything, just showed genuine interest in us.

Neverthess, we came home with several treasures.

We found purple butterfly hair clips, purple belly dance hip scarves, floating and diaphanous purple dresses, reversible skirts, Indian textiles (purple and other,) purple bras and panties, purple knitted cowls, purple purses, purple hats…
purple store wares

When I started visualizing a post on the purple store, I cursed the fact I hadn’t taken any pictures. So we went back, which is when we met the owner, who, although he wasn’t Susan, was also very nice:
(Please note purple panties &etc. in the background.)

Real estate developers are planning a “restoration” of the village. I imagine once it’s complete, the small shops will no longer be able to afford rent, and will be replaced by higher priced newcomers. I wonder what will happen to the cheap but delicious seafood markets, the churro sellers, the locally owned stores, the neighborhood and family atmosphere.

It’s a charming and beloved place, and it’s working. I think it would be a cultural impoverishment to lose it.

Part Two of the Purple Post to come.

*He even has a pair of purple jeans. Now he has a purple t-shirt to match. I bought him one without text, which Susan kindly found in the back for me. And yes, he is the kind of guy who would wear them together. Love him.